Home|Audio Conferences|Taking the Bully by the Horns

Taking the Bully by the Horns: When is it bullying? When is it management?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Buy Now


Sean McGee

Union Counsel
Nelligan O'Brien Payne
Katherine Ford

Employer Counsel
Sherrard Kuzz


Piper Henderson

Legal Counsel
Ryley Mennie

Employer Counsel
Miller Titerle


There is a saying that people don't leave jobs, they leave managers. Whether it's because of perceived bullying by supervisors or a lack of support in dealing with harassment from colleagues, staff turnover is often an indication of a toxic workplace. However, employers and unions face tough questions in determining when behaviour crosses the line into bullying and harassment (particularly in the context of a supervisor managing employees) and how to appropriately discipline for such conduct. In this session, legal experts will discuss the ins and outs of identifying and responding to workplace bullying, addressing issues such as:

  • Identifying bullying and harassment: What kinds of behaviours meet the legal definitions of bullying and harassment? Can a single episode constitute harassment, or is a series of discrete incidents required? Does the behaviour have to be words or actions that are overtly aggressive or disrespectful, or can subtle, insidious or passive-aggressive conduct also qualify as bullying behaviour? What is the difference between bullying behaviour and rudeness or a difficult personality? Will a historically "tough" or disrespectful workplace culture excuse bullying behaviour, or do statutory protections against harassment and violence negate such a defence?
  • Management vs. bullying: Where do arbitrators draw the line between management and bullying? Is the assessment based on an objective standard, or does an adjudicator examine the complainant's subjective impressions? How can you distinguish between bullying, an aggressive management style, and simple insensitivity? Does "micro-managing" constitute bullying behaviour? Can a supervisor's investigation into a genuine workplace issue amount to bullying or harassment?
  • Appropriate disciplinary response: Are there common factors that adjudicators consider when assessing the reasonableness of discipline for bullying? What type of conduct justifies a summary dismissal? Where discharge is overturned at arbitration, what factors are determinative in arbitrators' decisions to order compensation in lieu of reinstatement?
  • Considering disability-related misconduct: What steps should an employer take if an employee's bullying behaviour is known or suspected to be linked to a mental health disability? Should discipline be imposed? Is accommodation necessary?
  • The union's role: What role should the union play in the process of reporting and responding to harassment/bullying complaints? How can unions deal with member-on-member bullying complaints without violating their duty of fair representation?

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $255. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $155.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

Buy Now